More Tuffet

Tuffet in process (3/4 view)
Tuffet in process (3/4 view)

I was so nervous about the fabric selection, but I am so pleased about how it turned out. I hope it will fit well with my living and dining room. My dining room is a rich red and my living room is a butter yellow, so this piece isn’t a perfect match, but it is an interesting combination of motifs.

My issue from the other day was seam allowance. You know that I have hard time actually reading directions and understanding them and the Tuffet directions were no different (all me, not Robin). I always assume a 1/4″ seam allowance, which, as a quiltmaker, is normal. As a real sewist it is absolutely not normal. In this case, the pattern had the seam line on it or I could use a 3/4″ seam allowance.

I had to unpick all the stitching that held the tuffet top together, but when I resewed, it looked like Robin’s description of how it should look.

Tuffet Button Cover
Tuffet Button Cover

I was running up and down the stairs, doing as much as I could while chatting with my Mom as she cooked (she was cooking the Y.M.’s last meal with her and the Big Guy and preparing a meal for us for later in the week. She is awesome!). One of the things I was able to do was make the button cover.

I fussy cut some flowers out of one of the Flea Market Fancy prints. The button blends in, which I might not do again, but I kind of like it.

I was thinking that Robin should print the patterns at Spoonflower and then people could just buy them without having to make the foundations as part of the class. I do think that there is an element of “becoming one with the pattern” that you get from drawing out the pattern, but printing them off of Spoonflower would be much easier and it might be less expensive than some of the other pattern choices Robin described.

I am thinking that I will make another so both DH and I have one to put our feet on. We will see since the class is tomorrow and I have to see how it goes.

Tuffet Progress

I was naughty and didn’t work on my Tuffet at all last weekend. The class is Thursday, so I got to it a little during the week and then seriously on Sunday.

Tuffet Class Work
Tuffet Class Work
2 finished panels
2 finished panels

I came home from class with some work done, but not enough. I finished 2 panels and sewed 2 strips (one seam) on the 6 other panels. Respectable work, but not a finished top. I still had work to do.

Making the Tuffet uses foundation piecing, so all I needed to do was place more strips on the foundations and sew.  For some stupid reason I was reluctant.

This is new to me. I didn’t want want to ruin it. I wasn’t 100% sure of my fabric choices. Blah Blah Blah. Fear.

I decided to just take one step at a time. So, last Thursday or so, I laid out the foundations in the photo above and looked at them for a few minutes. I got my stash of project strips and laid them out. I moved them around and then I sewed one strip on. Nobody died.

Yesterday I did the same with the last strip on each foundation. Because I am using 3″ strips, I didn’t need as many as those using 2.5″ strips. That made the process go a little faster for me.

Panels ready to sew
Panels ready to sew

I also trimmed all the excess fabric and stay stitched the edges. This means that the panels were ready to sew into a 3D bubble.

So, I am making progress. I will, for sure, be ready by Wednesday night. There is no choice about it.

Miss Muffet’s Tuffet

I am not Miss Muffet, but I am making a tuffet. As I mentioned, I have wanted to make one for a long time. I took the class at Scruffy Quilts and had a great time. The teacher, Robin Koenig, of West Coast Tuffets, was excellent. She was funny and helpful and engaging. She didn’t patronize us and she wasn’t a ditz.

The class is four hours, 2 sessions. The first session was last Thursday. We had to cut strips in advance (or buy a jelly roll), so we were ready to make the pattern and sew when we got to class. The patterns were a bit of a pain to make, but Robin had the templates ready, so we had to trace and cut. I was able to sew two sections out of eight, an accomplishment of which I was very pleased.

Tuffet, 2 sections
Tuffet, 2 sections

I got so much done, because I used 3″ strips, which meant that each section only required 4 strips. My fellow students used jelly roll strips and their sections required at least 6 strips per section so they had a lot more work to do.

The next class is in two weeks. I need to have all eight sections finished. I also want to make the button that covers the center.

I can’t wait to go back!


Improv Class

4 'A' Blocks
4 ‘A’ Blocks

Yesterday was a BAMQG Improv class at Always Quilting with Tina Michalik. I really liked it and it wasn’t  long enough, mostly because I was on a roll sewing and wanted to keep it up. Mostly I took it as a reward for smiling and being the perfect soon-to-be First Lady.

I wouldn’t really start an Improv quilt on my own in my workroom. It isn’t that I don’t  like the technique, the issue is that I have other things  to work on and the technique never comes to mind.

The last Improv quilt I made was the Women’s Work quilt I started in the Gwen Marston workshop. I like that quilt and remember the freedom I felt making the blocks. There was a similar feeling in the class yesterday. I think because of the constraints on my time lately I really liked that feeling of freedom.

I switched around the background and foreground so the red is actually the foreground according to Tina’s pattern. I wanted the interplay of the prints as the background. I may have been wrong in that choice as I am not liking what I have made so far. I like the interplay of fabric motifs and the black, white, greys with the red, but the center is too cross like. The center is sewn together, but I am considering unsewing and resewing in the way that Tina suggested. I am a little angry at myself because I did not even turn the blocks in Tina’s direction to consider laying them out with the red as the negative space.

Kelly's 'A' Blocks
Kelly’s ‘A’ Blocks

Kelly used some Alison Glass and Anna Maria Horner prints and I love the way hers looks.

Regardless, I want the prints area to be fatter, so I think taking the four blocks apart is in my future.

I’ll have to think about it.


Playing in Maryland pt.2: Shirts

Vintage Looking Tablecloth
Vintage Looking Tablecloth

As I mentioned in the previous post, we made shirts for DH and BIL#3 (I have to give designations now since there are multiple BILs involved). As you have heard both are involved in the Native Sons of the Golden West. Over the course of a few months, I found two different types of California themed fabric and bought it. I knew I was heading to Maryland and SIL#2 is almost always game for the crazy ideas I have.

My idea was to make two shirts out of each fabric. We started with the tablecloths. They were available on eQuilter. Mrs. K saw them and emailed me about them. I bought the last three. As I said in the previous post from Sunday, we had to fussy cut in order to get the most out of the motifs on the fabric and to have enough fabric to make two shirts.

Pattern Layout
Pattern Layout

The first order of business was to lay out the pattern pieces on the tablecloths (yes, we washed them) and cut out the pieces. We tried to get the most pieces out of tablecloth #1 to ensure we had as much of the motifs on each shirt as we could and as we were nervous we wouldn’t have enough fabric.

While we were laying out the pattern pieces, a story appeared. Not a story with a murder and a romance, but a story about California. One of the shirts we decided tended towards water and boats and the other land. We couldn’t use all the motifs for each shirt. It was kind of a shame we couldn’t fit the California motif into both shirts. It just wouldn’t work. I kind of wish I had bought four tablecloths, but I know there were only three left.

Tablecloth in process
Tablecloth in process

We decided not to do all of the shirts at the same time and we focused on the tablecloth shirts. We sewed and pressed and marked. By the time I went to my work conference, we had two shirts done in including the buttons.

We were pretty thrilled with the way the tablecloth shirts came out. Would we have wanted them to have more of the California map on them? Yes. Would we have preferred it if the lines around the border could have been made symmetrical? Yes. It wasn’t possible yet we are very happy with how they came out.

There were a lot of design challenges with these shirts, but I think that the design challenges made this project fun and the shirts unique.

Black NSGW Shirt for Paul
Black NSGW Shirt for Paul

SIL got me on the garment sewing bandwagon by making me sew the entire third shirt myself. She was there to guide and be my marking slave, but I did all the cutting and sewing.

We were able to finish that except for the buttons.

I came back on Saturday and we blew through the last shirt. I cut out the pattern (only one piece wrong this time) and then SIL took the lead and I took slave position again. We got it done, though we are both skeptical that it is a three hour shirt as the pattern advertises.

I have made a few garments before, but the patterns seem very complicated and I am not a confident garment maker. Working on Shirt #3 and alongside SIL on the others really helped boost my confidence. I won’t be making ballgowns anytime soon, but I might try an easy dress from a pattern I bought. Or remember that skirt?

Tsukineko Inks Class

Work area
Work area

I have a lot of Tsukineko Inks. I love the idea of them. They don’t change the hand of the fabric. They purport to be permanent (have not Googled that nor do I have personal experience). They are not too messy and have fabulous colors.

Sadly, I have never had a lot of time to learn to use them or practice with them. Awhile ago, Nancy and I got together one time to try them out. I had fun and was inspired, but I haven’t really had a chance to work with them since. I love them so they have been on my mind.

It turns out that my class was with Judy Coates Perez. She is awesome and then I read my blog and found out that the first time I wrote about Tsukineko Inks had to do with Judy Coates Perez!

So, this was an EBHQ workshop and I signed up a few months ago knowing I would be on the East Coast around the same time. I signed up and made plans to be sure and be home by the time the class started.

Then I found out I was on the waiting list.

I was #8.

I had no chance of getting in. I was disappointed. Supremely disappointed.

What else could I do? I moved on. The inks stayed on the shelf.

Then I went on my trip. Practically as soon as I settled into the East Coast I got an email from the workshop coordinator saying I had gotten into the class and needed to confirm ASAP. I couldn’t believe that I, #8, had gotten into the class. That is practically a 50% dropout rate. I found out later that the dropout number was the most people who had ever dropped out of a workshop in recent memory and the most people on the waitlist who had ever gotten into a class.

I was really happy! I RSVPed ASAP and then panicked. Did I have the right colors? How could I know? I wasn’t at home to check. I panicked about it on and off until I got home. Finally, when I checked, I was completely astounded to find that I had all but one of the colors. I must have bought a ‘basics’ kit at some point. It didn’t even matter than I didn’t have that color once I was in the class.

Judy Coates Perez is an awesome teacher and I would take a class from her again in an instant. She is caring, giving and very easy going. She has a lot of extra colors (yes, I bought a few more) and supplies. Since I didn’t really have a chance to buy anything on the supply list, I scrounged a water cup from Peet’s when I got an extra cup of morning tea and bought the rest from her: brushes, etc. Fortunately, the supply list was short and sweet.


The first thing we did was work on getting used to the ink and blending. I wrote the colors down next to my practice pieces so I would know what I had done in the future.

It takes practice.

The technique requires a light touch. Having a light touch, I found is not my strength. I also found that, since I was determined to succeed, that I made an effort to calm down, slow down, be patient and realize that this technique was a commitment and not a sprint.

I really like the slow and careful way one has to apply the inks. It is soothing in a lot of ways.

Leaf and Flower
Leaf and Flower

Once we started in on leaves and flowers, my rhythm was in full force and, though, my first leaf was a little heavy handed, but the practice helped and I got better. I needed to slow down and apply the ink more lightly. I tried to do that with the second leaf. It isn’t perfect, but it is much better.

The squiggly lines are me trying to get a smaller amount of ink of the applicator.

Tsukineko ink Flower, January 2015
Tsukineko ink Flower, January 2015

I made a really nice flower. It isn’t as good as Judy’s, of course. For having only worked with Tsukineko inks for  a few hours, I was pretty happy with my work. I can see shading and some shadows. I can also see how the blending changed the original tangerine I used for the first coat.

In the afternoon we switched to using paintbrushes. It is completely different and you make the inks more transparent and lighter in color using aloe vera gel (no additives).

I had to get used to a whole new technique, but I tried to take my patience with me into this new technique. The key with the paintbrushes is to have synthetic brushes (boar bristle for oils are too stiff and sable used for watercolors absorb too much liquid) and work in small spaces at a time.

Tsukineko inks, Peony in progress
Tsukineko inks, Peony in progress

Judy had copies of botanical line drawings and I picked a peony. I didn’t want to get the snail! My neighbor did, however, and she did a really great job with it. Snails, though, YUCK!

While trying to make the ink looks smooth and even, I was also practicing managing the amount of ink I was using. I got better as I went along.

I could tell other people were getting frustrated with the technique and the inks as the noise level grew as people stood up and started to chat. I just sat and worked away at my little spaces on my Peony.

Tsukineko inks, Peony in progress 2
Tsukineko inks, Peony in progress 2

I used Orchid Odyssey for the petals, Thistle for the shadows on the petals and Tropical Lagoon for the leaves. I wanted to something a little different in terms of color and to try out some of my other inks.

Way too early they chivvied us along and got us to pay our bills and clean up our areas. I didn’t finish, but I am pleased with my progress.

The inks get heat set and are permanent when they dry. I learned in this particular exercise to heat set areas once I am happy with them.

I am trying to think of a way to use these inks in my work. I can’t think of anything at the moment, but will keep thinking as I want to use them.

Thanks for reading!


JCP Samples
JCP Samples

Don’t Should on Yourself

During the storm last week I should have sewn more.

Over the weekend I should have made progress on the Field Day Zipper.

When I have a spare moment, I should be working on the Teenaged Boy Black & Grey Donation Quilt.

I should be farther along sewing triangles to the leftover octagons.

These are words going through my head recently. Finally, I sat myself down and we talked.

I DO want to sew. Really. There is no reason I shouldn’t be sewing. I feel like I want to work on a project about which I am really excited. The problem is that I have a couple of other projects I also really want to get done, mostly to get the off my plate. I am not excited about them, so creative things kind of bog down.

I have to figure out what will get me out of this mood. Am I in a rut? Did I should badly on some projects that are not exciting me? Are projects not moving off my design wall fast enough? I don’t know.

My mom always says I shouldn’t ‘should’ on myself. I do a lot and I get stuff done. beating myself up about sewing is stupid. Yes, I want to finish projects, but clearly there is something else going on. Life is taking up space in my head and that is a thing that sometimes happens. Other stuff I enjoy is getting shoved aside for a lot of things I feel I ‘should’ do.

Bill Kerr Workshop: Fabric Smackdown

Remember I wrote a really long post about the Bill Kerr Workshop? Well, that was only the talking part of the workshop. The Fabric Smackdown was the working part of the workshop. I moaned when I heard what he wanted us to do, but once I was into it, I loved it!

This is the best, most exciting way to make fabric selections for a quilt!!! At least until tomorrow when I find a new way to choose fabric. 😉

My fabric choice
My fabric choice

He asked us to each to pick a fabric that gave us trouble from the fabrics we brought.

Hhmmm. Difficult. I didn’t want to pick anything too hideous as I suspected we would have to do something with the fabric. I thought about brown, which is really a challenge for me, but decided to stick with some color.

I chose this green and pink. Despite pink and green being compliments on the color wheel, this fabric is so strong that it is a challenge to work with. I still wonder why I bought it. Perhaps someone gave it to me or it was part of a pack.  I haven’t been able to find anymore of it so I used it for something. How quickly we forget.

Bill Choosing Fabrics
Bill Choosing Fabrics

Yes, we did have to use the fabric for something.

Bill picked two fabrics, mostly, gave the two fabrics to their owners and then the owners had to make a fabric palette that got the fabrics from one to other.

There were two groups with three people. I was in one of them with Jennifer (of the photographing the meetings fame) and Lynette (of the A-B-C Challenge fame).

We used our fabric and our group shared, so Jennifer pawed through my scraps bags while I looked through Lynette’s neatly folded FQs. The criteria we were supposed to use in addition to hue were:

  • scale
  • figure/ground
  • illustration style
  • pattern
  • value
  • saturation
  • Large scale prints-isolate or integrate
  • Think about fabrics as a conversation.
  • etc

The thing to remember is that this type of exercise takes practice. And more practice and even more practice. He told us that we would not be able to speak very well about what we were putting up, but that we had to try. The more we tried, the better we would get at it.

Interim fabric palette
Interim fabric palette

We had an interesting group of fabric and our interim attempt at selecting fabrics was pretty interesting.

You can see my little green and pink piece in the middle right. I don’t remember what the other two starter fabrics were, but I think the blue, white and brown floral and the yellow, brown and green floral at the top. I am not 100% positive.

Now, the rule is to “Love it for 10 Minutes.” Remember the homework we did around the topic of ‘Encourage’? At first you might think “YECH!” What were they thinking.

Final Fabric Patlette
Final Fabric Patlette

We thought that, too, trust me. This selection was way out of our comfort zone, but we kept looking and fiddling with choices and, in the end, I think we all really liked it.

I would love to have all these pieces and make a quilt.

Definitely, there are two palettes into which this grouping could be divided. If you look and think about it, the fabrics can be used successfully together. I wouldn’t put equal amounts of all of the fabrics in. I might put a touch of the yellow and more of the salmon and blues. I don’t know.

I just know that I thought this would be impossible (though what teacher,in their right mind, would give an exercise that couldn’t be done? It would be all over the Internet in 2 seconds signaling they should hang up their rotary cutter) and now I am trying to figure out how to do it at home by myself. I am looking at the starter fabrics for the Jelly Roll I want to make and wondering… I think the exercise was very successful.

Variety of Fabric Groupings
Variety of Fabric Groupings

The groups of fabric are unusual, but not crazy. When you look at where people started (their fabrics) and how they got from fabric A to fabric B, the grouping make sense and are excitingly different. Enlarge the picture and see what you can.

What makes these groupings work, aside from hue, is the variety. The variety of pattern, scale, motifs and the inclusion of some drabs. And so much more.

Workshop Group
Workshop Group

And, by the end, we were all tired, but we look happy. I was happy I know that.


Bill Kerr Workshop

Bill Kerr
Bill Kerr

The Bill Kerr  Workshop was awesome. It came hard on the heels of the Sew Day held on Thursday and there were 35 people there! We didn’t get to see Weeks Ringle or the famous Sophie, who has recently published her first book, A Kid’s Guide to Sewing, but I’ll suffer through.

I said somewhere that I want to crawl inside Bill Kerr’s head and suck out all the information he has in there. It sounds gross, but that is how I feel. This is the second lecture/workshop I have taken from him and this was all new information. Or I wasn’t really paying attention last time and he just got a gimme in me.

He is a very good lecturer, regardless, because even if he said the same things over again, they resonated with me and I want to incorporate them into my work.

The last time I heard him speak was at the Peninsula Quilter’s Guild in 2008. At that time I wrote “I am hopeful that I will get to work with them, because he mentioned that they teach a week long, intensive design course. It is now on my list of things to do when the work situation simmers down.” I remember that a month after i wrote this statement, my work troubles were put firmly on the back burner, because my husband was laid off and it was a year and half before we could even consider something like this workshop. I still want to take the design course, and will still have to inquire, though he said they are still busy, but Weeks has created a Craftsy class with a lot of information and that class has 6,000 students in it. I can’t even imagine having that many students. I know they are not all in a classroom at once, but still that is a lot of potential questions.

My ideal would be to have a once per week class with them where the students, including me, went away, did some work and came back the following week to work with them some more. Since they live in Chicago and I live a few thousand miles from them, I will have to put that on my list of things to do when I win $100,000,000,000 in the lottery.

If you don’t know Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle, they are the owners of the Modern Quilt Studio (formerly FunQuilts). Weeks is the author of the popular Craft Nectar blog.  They are the authors of several books:


The workshop was scheduled to last from 6:30-9:30, but we really went until about 10:00pm. At 6:30, Bill bounded, literally, into the room and just started talking to us about color and design and I was, immediately, riveted. I think he really did chat with Rhonda for a minute before he started, but being in the way back of the room, that was my impression. He is energetic and full of life and I know I would gain so much by truly studying with him and Weeks.

He said something that I truly believe. When I looked back at the208 blog post from the last lecture I attended. He said a version of “He suggested that people think you are born Picasso or doomed to mediocrity. He believes this to be wrong and that visual arts take work, like anything else, and that you can be successful if you work at it.” He really emphasized that everyone has an artistic spark and that the owner of the spark has to practice and practice. For us that means making many, many quilts and failing at some of them.

A lot of what I write below is from my notes, so some of the sentences may be just fragments.

Hue – what we call color. When I say my favorite color is turquoise, I really should be saying my favorite hue is turquoise.

Value – relative lightness or darkness of a hue

Itten Color Wheel-saturation
Itten Color Wheel-saturation

Saturation – in-tenseness of the hue – hue in purest form – middle of Itten color wheel. e.g. Pure saturated yellow can never be dark.

Black is the most desaturated “hue”.

The other thing he said that I need to remember for my own work is that it is never, ever solely about the color; it is about the role that the color plays in the quilt. THE ROLE. Fabric is fabric; you can use all types and styles together. There is no quilt police who will look at your quilt and tell you to take some fabrics out. Who cares if it  is modern or civil war, etc? If hte fabric has the right role int he quilt and it is a modern fabric next to a Civil War reproduction next to a feedsack, and the piece works, you have succeeded.

Isolate one concept, express one idea:

  • showcase 1 fabric
  • showcase 1 pattern
  • etc.
David Butler/Jo Morton quilt
David Butler/Jo Morton quilt

Above is one of the quilts Bill Kerr brought as an example. It is a perfect example of the above statement. It is a combination of David Butler’s first collection and Jo Morton fabrics. David Butler is Amy Butler’s husband and his quilt fabrics are more ‘modern’. Jo Morton designs Civil War reproduction fabrics. The fabrics work together despite their different styles and, thus, the quilt works. Don’t limit yourself because you think “I don’t do Civil War.”

Drabs work really well with brights. “Drabs” are taupe, putty, some greys, olive green, some browns, etc. Drabs are forgettable. Drabs allow other fabrics to shine. He didn’t have a chance to go into this very much, but he said that a lot of times a drab version of the complementary hue can really spark up another color. Drabs can add some relief, <Jaye editorializing> I think that what Kerr discussed was what is sometimes referred to as “buying ugly colors” or “using ugly colors”. I don’t like to think that there is a hue that does not have a role to play in some quilt (see above in David Butler/Jo Morton quilt). I also like the idea of calling these types of hues “drab” rather than “ugly.”

He also said, and I really like this metaphor, that putting fabrics together for a quilt is like creating the perfect guest list for a party. Think about hue, scale, pattern (like polka dots). Think about eliminating the ‘loud obnoxious guest.’ Think about how the scale, pattern and hues work together as a harmonious whole. I keep thinking back on his comments comparing quilts to a party.

Figure Ground and Illustration Style
Choosing fabrics for a quilt is not just about looking at the circles on the selvedge and picking colors. Figure Ground and Illustration Style are two things to consider.

In simplest terms the figure is what you notice and the ground is everything else…The figure always defines the ground and the ground defines the figure. They are inseparable — you can not have one without the other. If you draw the figure in a composition, you are drawing the ground at the same time… (Daphne)

Illustration Style is the style in which motifs are drawn. Are there light objects on dark field? Are there dark objects on light field? Are the motifs are outlined in black? Are the motifs not outlined? The type/style of drawing, such as the way I draw my CPP responses or a watercolor color style are all examples of illustration style and they are another tool that you can use to choose fabrics.

Bill likes RJR Linen White as a great background. He likes it better than Kona Snow and there was a suggestion that Kona, while dominating the market, ravels too much. The RJR Linen White is very warm.


Every quilt is an opportunity to learn.

Weeks Ringle wrote an article in the June 2013 American Patchwork and Quilting called Stash RX

I’ll write another post about the Fabric Smackdown exercise we did.

Book Making

Sometimes, very occasionally, my personal creative world and my professional world meet.

Books I Made 3/2013
Books I Made 3/2013

This happened a few weeks ago when the social committee of one of the organizations to which I belong scheduled an outing to the San Francisco Center of the Book. Of course, it was a week where a thousand things were happening and I almost cancelled. I am glad I didn’t, though, because it was a great class and it got me moving in the direction of bookmaking, like the Red, Purple, Well Done and Good Job journals, again.

Until it is in Flame
Until it is in Flame

Not every participant had arrived, so I took some time to look at the exhibit on display. I don’t remember the name of the exhibit, but the books all looked like they had hidden messages.

The piece, Until it is in Flame, is by Beau Beausoleil and Andrea Hassiba. While I do not like the burned and destroyed book, I do like the way a part of the book is hollowed out. The space could hold additional artworks, messages or other books. It makes me think of how to do this sort of idea in the structure of the books I make, but it also makes me wonder whether I should.

Healing Wounded Words
Healing Wounded Words

Healing Wounded Words is a piece about the power of words by Marina Salmaso, a Danish artist from KØbenhavn. I find this piece to be very light, but the words and the red are not boring. I also like the format.

You really have to click the photos to see them larger. The thumbnails don’t do them justice.


Another exhibit was in another room and it was equally as intriguing as the one in the main room.

I really like the variety of different bindings and different types of books. It was so fun to learn how make a few of them.

My Favorite Binding
My Favorite Binding

Rhianna, the instructor, passed around lots of different types of books with different bindings. We did 4-5 separate books and bindings. Of course when I saw the binding on the green book, I immediately thought it would make a fantastic journal binding.

Guess what?

This book was a teaser for another class! I really want to take that class so I can learn how to make the binding. If I made it I can decide whether I can translate the binding/bookmaking type into fabric.

Inside of My Favorite Binding
Inside of My Favorite Binding

From the inside, this binding looks like it would hold a lot more pages than the other types of bindings we learned.

It also looks like one could see some of the fabric through the binding.

Type cases
Type cases

The San Francisco Center for the Book is a great place. It is in a hip, up and coming neighborhood that still has a bit of grit with their Whole Foods.

Type case label
Type case label

There are a lot of interesting things to look at in the facility and it is light and airy as well. The exhibits I looked at were two in a series of ongoing exhibits.

If you are making a trip to San Francisco and want to get off the Fisherman’s Wharf-Ghirardelli Square-Cable Car beaten path, you might want to check out the San Francisco Center for the Book.


Skirt Patterns
Skirt Patterns

I have to refresh my work wardrobe. I am at the point where the collars and cuffs of my clothes are fraying, etc, because they are so old. The problem is I dislike shopping for clothes. I have been doing a bit on my days off, but I need to spend more time than I have. I need to replace everything, so this is an opportunity to revamp my entire wardrobe, get a new look and feel better about the clothes I wear.

One of my ideas is to start wearing more skirts. I haven’t been able to find the kind I have in mind. I do have a Study Hall Skirt from Anna Maria Horner, but haven’t done anything with the pattern….yet. I was at Joann buying an Accuquilt Go! mat and decided to look at skirt patterns. I was inspired by reading a Threads magazine that was in my stack from a few years ago.

I found these two patterns. I know they are similar. I don’t know if this style will look good on me, but we will see.

I brought them home without buying any of the notions, because I want to read the pattern and consider before going back and getting zippers, etc. I have enough of some dot fabric (who is surprised? Raise your hand) to make a knee length skirt, so I may only need a zipper. I may make a test skirt out of muslin or something.

I’d really like to find a pattern I can be friends with and make over and over (kind of like the Multi-tasker tote by Anna Maria Horner). I don’t know if these will be it, but we will see.

Photoshop Elements Class

Denver Flower Mashup
Denver Flower Mashup

This Pièce de résistance for the Photoshop Elements class I took yesterday. It is not that useful for quiltmaking, but I am pleased that it came out well and is pleasing to the eye. I also learned a lot in that class and this piece shows a lot of what I learned.

I am so glad that people came out and took the class. I was nervous up until earlier this week when Lynn sent me a note saying 12 people had signed up. I wasn’t sure the class would go forward, but it did. I think everyone learned a lot. I think that Lynn put in the right amount of information.

Lynn Koolish teaches a variety of different classes, but they all seem to relate to printing on fabric, fabric dying and other fabric manipulation techniques. Lynn works at C&T Publishing as an editor. She contributes to the C&T Blog and teaches as well.

One of the things I wanted to learn was how to put multiple images into one space. I don’t always want to load 37 images that you, my dear reader, would also have to load, especially if I really want you to get the flavor of what I am discussing. I learned how to do that and the example above has that technique. In that case, I used the same image and put it into one file multiple times.

I also learned how to deal with layers, which was very confusing to me until yesterday. In the photo above, I was able to flip each image, because they were in different layers.

Breakfast of Champions
Breakfast of Champions

The reason the above is called Breakfaast of Champions is because the image started out as a picture of my breakfast. First we talked about various things you could do with color such as replacing color. I changed the colors using saturation and hue, etc so that my breakfast turned lovely shades of purple and blue. We also talked about different filters and effects, which is how I ended up with the spiky kind of image above. It is tempting to think of making it into a quilt, but I don’t know if I have it in me to do the colorwork required. Nice thought, though.

I also learned about adding text to an image. I don’t know why it seemed so scary before, but it isn’t scary.

Denver Flower Mashup 2
Denver Flower Mashup 2

By the end of the class, I felt pretty confident. I am not expert, of course, but I have some confidence, so I changed the frame (from above photo) to see what the difference in look would be.



Repurposed Journals
Repurposed Journals

I am kind of stuck in my ways when it comes to daily writing journals. TFQ introduced to me to the Miquelrius journals and I have never looked back.

I received these journals on the right from DH for Mother’s Day. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking at when I opened the beautifully wrapped gift. The spiral with the old book covers did not compute in my mind.

I admire the Art Deco (Nouveau??) design on the cover of the brown book, but really appreciated both when I opened them. The pages of the books have been replaced with blank, recycled paper.

Recycled Journals Open
Recycled Journals Open

There are a few pages from a book in the journal, but mostly the pages are blank.

DH works for a large educational institution and they are constantly having different events. They recently had a Green Fair and that was where he found these. I thought it was very sweet of him to pick journals for me. I guess he noticed that I write in my journal a lot. 😉

Now I have to decide whether or not to make a cover for these when I use them.

Various and Sundry 2011 #2

I received a 6 month The Quilt Show subscription. I have watched 2 episodes and I enjoyed both. I am enjoying watching, but mostly listening to, these online quilt shows. One thing I like about the Quilting Show is that Alex Anderson shows a traditional technique. In one episode she shows how to draw a feathered wreath quilting design. In another episode, she talks about making a LeMoyne and Split Lemoyne block. The episode with Philippa Naylor seems to be available for everyone. One thing Ms. Naylor said is that she considers herself to be a contemporary quiltmaker rather than an art quiltmaker, because her work is grounded in classic quilts. That was a sentence I thought about for awhile. I really like most quilts and have found it hard to categorize myself. I don’t think I need to categorize myself, but like the idea of being a contemporary quiltmaker. Do I need to change the name of my blog?

I also, as I have mentioned, have a subscription to Quilt Out Loud, which I enjoy. It is entertaining, though Mark is a little over the top sometimes!

There is a great post up on another blog, which I won’t name, but will give you a link. Check out the post! I had a hand in the fodder for the post, so perhaps I am not being humble by sending you over there, but I just love the way the writer wrote about the subject matter and I can’t help myself!

Remember the 1000 Journals Project? I wrote about it several times in various posts and Julie and I went to the exhibit at SFMOMA to write in journals ourselves. An artist in NYC has a new project called Eternally Yours. I saw it on Melanie Testa’s blog. She found one of the letters. The artist has written letters and distributed them all over NYC. The include half finished art and the recipient’s ‘job’ is to finish the art and send it back. There is a video to watch as well. I love the thought of receiving and writing letters. TFQ and I do it, but I don’t get many other letters. Very sad. I could get my own letter from the artist…. I hope some of my NYC readers will participate in this project.

I was asked by an organization to allow them to add advertising to my blog. I thought about it. They were paying ok money for the kind of ad they wanted me to host. I decided against it. I could use the money to pay for some Artquiltmaker related fees, but I didn’t like the sound of them. Hope you all appreciate my restraint! 😉

It is always, despite my efforts, about the fabric. I want to try to curb my fabric buying this year and clear out the fabric closet a little bit and use all the fabulous fabric I have. I am resolved to do it and then I see Me and My Sister Designs who come out with some fabulous turquoises. And then, they have to go and show them on their blog. I mean, really. The nerve. Sigh.

Fabricworm has posted a tutorial for a quilt they are calling the Five Points Quilt. It is shown on their blog. Birch Fabrics/Fabricworm is a fabric selling enterprise, so they are, of course trying to sell their fabric, but this is a really nice and modern design. I think it is suitable for all sorts of different kinds of fabric.

Inner Critic
I recently read a blog post on the inner critic written by Violette. I love her book, Journal Bliss, so I check in on her blog periodically and looking at her drawings always makes me smile. I have been meaning to pull out her book and look at her directions for faces. All of my CPP responses with people in them have beautiful views of gorgeous hair and no faces. Anyway, her blog post made me think about my inner critic. After some analysis, I am happy to say that I don’t have an inner critic that calls me an idiot or tells me I can’t do something. My inner critic is all about time (and mess, too, but that is also related to time). I often hear the monkey voices in my head saying “you don’t have time for that” or “that will take too long” or “just do that [non-quilt/creativity related] task before you sew” or “that will take too long.” Reading her blog post started to develop an image of my inner critic gremlin. Diana Trout, the writer of Journal Spilling, also talks about creating an image of the inner critic. I think both writers are suggesting that creating an image of your gremlin is the first step in learning to ignore him/her.

I am reading a book, which I received for my birthday called Quilts Made Modern by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle. It is, basically, a pattern book, but they have good things to say about design, color, etc. One of their ideas, which I may have spoken about before is the “Big Idea.” Their Big Idea is a way of thinking beyond the focus fabric. The quilt designer gets an idea and tries to convey that idea in the making of a quilt. The Big Idea could be a feeling or an experience or something like that. I thought of this book when I read this post. I completely agree with the writer. I do agree that perfection is not something to strive for and that design/vision is much more important. I also think that good technique is important. By good technique, I don’t mean perfection. I mean technique that doesn’t distract from the design or vision. I sincerely dislike quiltmakers who claim to be making art quilts, because they don’t know how to bury and tie off their quilting threads.

Out and About
Everyone in NYC and the area should check this out: Classes at the Folk Art Museum. If I lived in the area, I would be taking all of these classes, damn the cost! 😉 The next one is on Feb. 26 with Paula Nadelstern. What a great opportunity. I really hope this whole event will spur other museums to do the same sort of thing. I would love it if the DeYoung would fill their entire space with quilts. I am happy to give them some of my quilts to show. 😉

Confidential to Reva
I was looking on Amazon and a new book, The Big Book of Patchwork, by Judy Hopkins has a quilt that you might want to look at with regard to your Drunkard’s Path Project. It is the 7th photo if you look inside.

New Books & Fabric

Christmas Books, 2010
Christmas Books, 2010

Here are the books I got for Christmas, etc. DH came through with the two books on the left, American Quilts and Sew Serendipity. The American Quilts book is another book Robert Shaw and some of the quilts are the same as those in his other books, but I love to read books where quilts are woven into history. I have glanced through it and read some things that have attracted my attention, but I haven’t delved deeply into it and I look forward to doing so.

Sew Serendipity is a book that has a great pattern for a coat. It is on page 154 and called Classic Tailored Jacket. I plan to try making it from polar fleece, hopefully the two-sided kind that I found once before. My mom said she would help me, but that is all the farther we have gotten.

I heard about Kiss Ass Creativity on Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski and thought it sounded interesting. He has a lot interesting authors on that show. AJA gave it to me and I can’t wait to read it.

Lil Sissy gave me The Apron Book. I think I will have to make her an apron.

Friend Julie also came through with two books, Sew Serendipity and Collage Lab. I am hoping that Collage Lab will help get over my wet, messy at home avoidance problem. Andrea at a Work of Heart has a Collage Lab book club, but it is too far to go on a weeknight when I work.

Finally, I checked the Artist in the Office out of the Library and then I had to buy my own copy, because I needed to make a note on almost every page and the book was a little over $5 (go buy one, you won’t be sorry). I read it and it really made me feel a lot better about my day job. It isn’t inspirational in a sappy way, but gives practical tips about dealing with a day job, thinking about “obligations” in a new way, making choices and getting the work done.

People are so generous! I am so fortunate. Yes, my thank you notes are written. 😉

I am going to write a review of these books so stay tuned.

Martha Negley & Hoffman
Martha Negley & Hoffman

I decided to break down and buy the Martha Negley Grapes in Plum. I tried several places and none of them could confirm the color. One of them said she had no idea what color the fabric was. Huh? That I do not understand.

In the course of my explorations, I emailed Batiks, etc & Sew What Fabrics. They actually emailed me back and weren’t lame! They were able to confirm the color and they answered a question I had about a ruler. I was so impressed with their service. I would definitely shop there again! Customer Service is everything, folks!

As  you can see I also bought some Peppermint from Hoffman. It is a batik and I do like those swirls.

Martha Negley Red & Plum
Martha Negley Red & Plum

Left are the two grape fabrics that I now have. You can see the difference in the colors. They are destined to become bags. Which bag, I don’t know. Perhaps the Jane Market tote? I am in the mood for another AMH Multi-tasker tote, so perhaps one of those. We’ll see.